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What’s On In Yorkshire This December

andrew cranston a snake came to my coffee table on a hot hot day to drink there 2023 oil and varnish on cardboard 19 x 14.6 cm photo by john mckenzie press



Until 23 December

Merrion Street, Leeds
1 lead image riptide intermission credit lucy forrester

Innovative and interactive theatre company Riptide will take audiences on an immersive, therapeutic and positive journey with their original new show ‘Intermission’, a month long opportunity for audiences to pause and take time for themselves in the often manic festive season with tickets on sale now. A striking sensory experience with nurture and mindfulness at its core, ‘Intermission’ combines immersive performance with spa-like relaxation.


Andrew Cranston

Until 2 June

The Hepworth Wakefield
andrew cranston 2023 why have you stopped here press scaled 1

The Hepworth Wakefield will be the first public gallery to present a solo exhibition of works by Andrew Cranston. Andrew Cranston: What made you stop here? will feature 38 new and recent paintings that range from large-scale canvases to intimate works painted on old linen-bound book covers, comprising subjects that include still life, landscape, seascape, portraits, and interior scenes. Engaging with the layered emotional quality and pathos of everyday life, as well as a strong sense of place, be it real or imagined, Cranston’s evocatively titled paintings contain compelling and intriguing narratives that have the collaged dream-like quality of recollection and what he calls ‘creative misremembering’.


Robin Hood

Until 7 January

City Varieties Music Hall

Following the success of previous titles, including Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella, Leeds’s favourite panto will return to The Varieties for the festive period. Robin Hood is the latest classic tale to get the Rock ‘n’ Roll treatment. A very different format to the traditional Christmas pantomime, Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos mix traditional elements of audience participation and corny gags with a jukebox full of classic rock anthems and chart-toppers.


Noises Off

Until 2 December

Lyceum Theatre
311 x4a5043 noises off pamela raith photography

Noises Off, one of the greatest British comedies ever written, comes to Sheffield direct from a sell-out West End run. The 40th anniversary production of Michael’s Frayn’s multi award-winning farce follows a sell-out West End season at the Phoenix Theatre earlier this year. Serving up a riotous double bill, a play within a play, and hurtling along at breakneck speed, Noises Off follows the on and off stage antics of a touring theatre company as they stumble their way through the fictional farce, ‘Nothing On’.


Songs for Ukraine

10 December

Bradford Cathedral
songs for ukraine performance copy2023 veronika ward 1

The Royal Opera House partners with Bradford Cathedral for a Christmas concert starring its Songs for Ukraine Chorus. The concert marks the start of a bold new partnership between Bradford – the City of Culture for 2025 – and the Royal Opera House. Set up in 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Songs for Ukraine project began as a creative exchange with the Royal Opera Chorus to support and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian community. The Chorus, which is made up of Ukrainian singers impacted by the war – including those who fled in 2021 – last performed with the Royal Opera Chorus in March 2023, to an invited audience of London’s Ukrainian community.


The Gifting

26-31 December

Versa Studios
the gifting mystery image

It’s time for one last dream with The Gifting, an original performance of 12 interwoven stories that brings LEEDS 2023 to a fitting close this Twixmas. The Gifting is an intoxicating mix of promenade theatre and song, merging myths and legends in an hour-long performance of stage illusion, magic and promise in celebration of the power of storytelling. Following a year of exceptional cultural experiences co-directors Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane will end the Year of Culture on a high with The Gifting.

Water world

Music recorded in Sheffield that will soothe your soul this Christmas

Birmingham Record Company have announced the release of A Ladder is Not the Only Kind of Time, a new album from composer Benjamin Tassie. Recorded and filmed in the historic Rivelin Valley in Sheffield, the album features three new water-powered musical instruments that Benjamin designed and built together with the instrument maker Sam Underwood. The delicate recordings on this beautiful album combine music produced by these instruments with the sounds of the environment and live performance to engage poetically with ideas of place, heritage, and our changing relationship with nature.  

a ladder is not the only kind of time second coppice wheel benjamin tassie and rebecca lee
A Ladder is Not the Only Kind of Time – Second Coppice Wheel – Benjamin Tassie and Rebecca Lee

The Rivelin Valley was once a thriving hub of water-powered industry. Today, the ruins of 20 watermills and 21 mill dams can be found along the river’s length – ghosts of Sheffield’s industrial past. Now a haven for wildlife, the weirs, dams, and goits that channelled the water still remain – look into the river, or along its banks, and you will see millstones, the remnants of machinery, fragments of wall. A Ladder is Not the Only Kind of Time was made in dialogue with this evocative landscape. New music reframes the river, blurring the boundaries between the cultural and the natural, the new and the old. 

Benjamin says: “Playing beside the water meant becoming attuned to its sounds and pace, to the way the river played the instruments, to how the environment dictated the tempo and feeling of a track. Recording was a process of listening as much as it was of making sound; of standing still and becoming attuned, momentarily, to the landscape. I hope that A Ladder is Not the Only Kind of Time offers the listener a moment of such connection with the river.”

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